rating: pg 13
main characters: Rupert Giles, Jeanette
disclaimer: I do not hold any legal rights to any characters from either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Forever Knight.
distribution: TNL, Twisting, Paula, Cat if she wants it.
note: set post season 5 finale, AU for Forever Knight so that Jeanette is still around.
note 2: refer to TNL scenario #12.
Rupert Giles sighed as he tried to relax. He was supposed to be on a vacation, a time to relax, to allow himself to unwind from his stress and tensions and frustration. It wasn't working very well.
He'd been under so much stress for so long, to learn what he needed to know, to deal with Buffy's willful ways and try to keep her safe, the trials and tempests of life in Sunnydale. He wasn't even certain that he would know how to relax anymore.
Perhaps that was part of the reason why he was making such a dismal mess of this vacation. He wasn't terribly relaxed, and kept wondering what sort of creatures lurked in the darkness of this place. What dangers were waiting for the cover of darkness?
He fidgeted again, debating just going back to his hotel. It was a lovely day, nice weather, some clouds but none that threatened rain. Mild breezes had kept the air moving, and there was the scent of apples carried in the air. Over all, it was a beautiful day, perfect for relaxing and just enjoying life.
In the end, he decided to go for a short walk, following a path through some lovely trees. He had a few things in case of danger, a decent sized knife that he'd been able to hide under his jacket, some vials of holy water... And just sitting here trying to relax was driving him mad.
As he was following the hiking trail, the sun began it's descent, turning the sky into a glorious blaze of crimson and purple. He kept walking, now calling himself a fool. It was one thing to have a few precautions while sitting in the park, it was another to be in an unknown forrest with inadequate weapons in uncertain territory. Anything could be lurking out here.
There was a small meadow, with pale shapes that he assumed were flowers, judging by the faint scent that perfumed the air. A gentle splashing and gurgling noise hinted that there was a small stream with rocks somewhere close by. There was a woman in the clearing, kneeling by the flowers, her long dark hair spilling down her back in an untamed mass of curls.
"Good evening, miss." Rupert offered the greeting, his upbringing demanding courtesy even as a part of his mind wondered why she was out here so late. Didn't she know that it wasn't always safe for a woman alone after dark?
She looked up, giving him an impression of pale skin and dark eyes. "Yes, it is a nice evening. Would you mind if I walked with you for a bit?" Her voice was melodious, and carried a faint accent, perhaps French, perhaps a hint of German. There was a pause as she brushed some of her hair back from her face. "There are sometimes people in the park that... what is the words? Misbehave?"
"Well, I think... that should be perfectly fine. Although you hardly know me, perhaps I am not the sort you would prefer to associate with?" Giles felt himself smiling. The woman sounded so charming, a bit cultured.
She walked closer, her hips swaying in a subtly provocative manner that made his trousers feel much tighter than they had mere minutes before. "I think you'll be perfectly charming company."
Rupert swallowed once, finding the soft scent of her perfume, perhaps Sandalwood? almost intoxicating. It teased at his senses, causing all nature of ideas and suggestions to form, emerging from a bit lower than his brain. "I'd... be delighted to walk with you for a bit."
They walked for a while, the woman close enough that her hand occasionally brushed his, but not consistently. Her perfume teased him, whispering provocative images into his imagination. "I don't even know your name."
"Jeanette." Her smile was audible.
"That's a pretty name. I'm ahh..." For a terrifying moment, he felt as if his tongue had gone numb. "Rupert Giles."
"Rupert Giles, hmm? I like the name." She almost sounded as if she was purring.
Things continued in alternating silence and awkward attempt at conversation for a while, her hand still brushing against his as they walked. Then, there was a change in the air, the crickets silent, no sounds of birds. Instead, there was something, a sort of hoarse breathing with an almost liquid gurgling coming from the undergrowth to the right.
Jeanette made a small gasp, one hand gripping his shoulder with unsettling strength. "What... I do not like the sound of that."
"Something predatory... but I don't think it's a bear." Rupert frowned, wracking his memories for something that it could be. It was much harder due to the fact that all he had was the location and the sound of it's breathing. "Some sort of carnivorous lesser demon I think..."
"A demon? Do you really think that there is some sort of demon out there?" Jeanette's worried whisper tickled his ear.
Barely a heartbeat after her whisper, there was a scrabbling noise as the thing charged them from the underbrush. It had dark skin that looked in the dim moonlight as if it was covered with oozing sores, and there was a foul reek, like festering pus. It made a sort of squealing noise, and resembled a large boar, almost four feet at the shoulder, with four beady dark eyes and four sharp looking tusks. Something drooled from it's mouth, and it definitely seemed to be considering them as a late night snack. Clawed feet scrabbled over the dirt, surely sharp enough to rip through flesh.
Jeanette made a startled noise, like she had wanted to scream but only squeaked instead. Giles pulled his knife, wishing desperately that he had something more effective, or that he'd not gone onto the path at all. He tried to twist out of it's path, the knife slashing into it's side, provoking an enraged squeal from the beast. It turned, charging at him again, and this time, the tusks ripped into his side, causing blood to spurt from his body, and burning pain engulfed him. He gasped from it all, stabbing at the back of the things head, hoping to damage the spinal cord.
"Run!" He hoped that Jeanette could get away from it. Hoped that he could manage to save one last person, even if a proper hero walked away from his encounter with the dreaded beast.
The clawed foot lashed forwards as the tusks ripped higher, and Rupert couldn't feel his arm anymore, the knife falling from suddenly limp fingers. His leg was an agonized protest, and it wouldn't support him any more. He felt himself falling, and why did he feel so cold now? Dimly, there was a frantic squealing sound, and a dull thump, followed by the sound of something twitching as it died slowly. Bloody hell, couldn't he even manage to save someone?
"Rupert?" Jeanette's voice sounded like a faint whisper. "Rupert, can you hear me? You've been injured..."
He coughed, feeling his ribs move in ways that they shouldn't. "No, I'm dying. There's a..." He coughed again, tasting blood on his lips when he'd finished, the pain becoming stronger. "No doctor in the world could save me now."
"Just like that? You're giving up?" She sounded upset, and there was something else in her voice, something that didn't sound quite right for the situation.
For a moment, he just lay there, struggling to breathe, unable to feel his arm, his ribs and leg burning with pain. "Not... that simple. I know... can't recover from this. Too much... it's the blood loss making me cold..."
Her hands were at his face, her hair brushing his shoulders. "Would you like to live? Even if it meant things were different?"
"Life... is better than death." Rupert tried to force the darkness away from his vision, tried to concentrate on her face. "But not... not as a cripple."
"Non... not as a cripple, Rupert." Her voice was a bare breath in his ear, and then he felt something at his throat, a prickling sensation, and then it was as if something had placed a space between himself and his pain. He could think clearly. Jeanette was a vampire, and had bit him. Well, that shouldn't have been much of a surprise.
She held her wrist to his lips, blood dripping into his mouth as she whispered. "Drink, and you will live. You will be whole and strong."
He swallowed, hoping that he wouldn't wake up the same sort of monster that he'd spent so long fighting in Sunnydale. Darkness claimed him, and he welcomed the end of his pain.
end Embrace the Night.